'Boks win so much bigger than rugby, says South African legend Habana

Habana: Boks win so much bigger than rugby

South Africa's World Cup victory is about far more than rugby, Springboks legend Bryan Habana said following their thumping 32-12 win over England on Saturday in Japan.

Siya Herscell kids
Photo: AFP

South Africa's third World Cup triumph  was marked by the side's first black captain Siya Kolisi receiving the trophy in a sport that for decades was seen as a bastion of apartheid.

Habana, who was in the side that beat England in 2007, said the sight of Kolisi leading the team would inspire millions of South Africans.

"I'm taking a moment to take it all in - this is what the best dreams are made of," Habana said.

"This moment will be etched forever not only on the trophy but for every South African.

"This has been a journey which has been so transformational.

"Siya Kolisi thank you for giving South Africa hope, thank you for inspiring South Africans."

In a nod to the past, Kolisi was wearing the same number six that white captain Francois Pienaar wore when he accepted the trophy from South Africa's first black president Nelson Mandela in 1995.

Kolisi briefly joined Habana and the two locked in an emotional embrace before Kolisi said: "This gives hope. I never thought I would be living this experience.

"When I was a kid all I was thinking about was getting my next meal."

Habana said he hoped the victory marked a turning point for both the country and the sport.     

"This will be so much bigger than just for rugby and also for a new generation watching back home," said Habana.

"It is incredibly special to see a story like Siya's and the journey he has been on for the last seven years.

"To see a guy galvanise a team which did not seem possible (winners) 18 months ago is extraordinary.

"With him at the helm I hope this story lingers on a long time."

Kolisi said having his father at the match was a way of repaying him.

"I believe you never forget where you came from and those who helped you," he said.

For Habana, capped 124 times, South Africa were by far the better team as they upped their performance considerably after their dour semi-final win over Wales.   

"Absolutely phenomenal. Nobody expected such a commanding display. They won all the big battles," said Habana.

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